Saturday, September 24, 2016

Curtis Granderson Has Become an RBI Machine

There have been plenty of happy moments for Curtis Granderson and the Mets in the month of September.  (AP Photo)

About a month ago, I wrote a piece entitled "Curtis Granderson Chases Unwanted History One RBI at a Time".  When the post was published, Granderson had 20 homers and just 34 RBI.  Each of his last 17 homers had been of the solo variety (that streak eventually reached 18).  Because of his inability to drive in runs without the ball leaving the park and his propensity for not doing anything positive when there were runners on base, I surmised that Granderson would set the record for fewest runs batted in per home run of any player who hit 20+ HR.

But just like former Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck's scoring guarantee in a playoff game against the Packers, I may have been a little premature with my prediction about Granderson.

After driving in a total of 16 runs in July and August, a two-month stretch in which he had 195 plate appearances, Granderson has notched a team-leading 17 RBI in the month of September in just 83 plate appearances - an average of one RBI every 4.88 PA.  Furthermore, Granderson has picked some huge moments in which to drive in those runs, and although he's still hitting plenty of homers (his seven homers in September are tied for the N.L. lead), he's finally found a way to drive in his teammates when they've been on base in front of him.

In Friday night's win over the Phillies, Granderson drove in the first run in the Mets' game-changing six-run rally in the fifth inning.  Last Saturday, he became the first Met to hit two home runs in extra innings, producing the tying home run in the 11th inning against the Twins and the game-winning blast an inning later.  Four days before that, Granderson's RBI triple gave the Mets the lead in a game they eventually won in extra innings.  On September 9, he crushed a two-run homer off Met killer Julio Teheran when the Mets were trailing the Braves by four runs in the sixth inning, then delivered a game-tying single in the eighth frame.  The Mets went on to win to complete the rally from a four-run deficit to win the game, 6-4.  And finally, On September 3, Granderson turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a two-run single off Nationals starter Tanner Roark in a game eventually won by the Mets, 3-1.

After hitting 18 consecutive solo homers earlier in the season, four of Granderson's last eight home runs have come with at least one man on base.  In addition, five of Granderson's last seven homers have either tied the game or given the Mets the lead.  It should be added that none of those home runs came with Granderson batting in the leadoff spot, where hitting a home run in the first inning would usually give the Mets an early lead.

On the morning of August 20, the Mets were 60-62 and Curtis Granderson had 20 HR and 34 RBI.  Since then, the Mets are 22-10 and Granderson has produced nine homers and 21 RBI.  His lack of run production was close to becoming historically bad in the annals of baseball.  Now his 55 RBI for the season have Granderson tied for second on the Mets behind only Yoenis Céspedes.  Simply stated, Granderson's RBI turnaround has been nothing short of Amazin'.

Maybe it was the acquisition of Reds' right fielder Jay Bruce that got Mets' right fielder Curtis Granderson to start driving in runs.  Or perhaps the Grandy Man has been drinking some of current Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's "miracle water".  Whatever the reason, there's no denying the fact that not only has Granderson become an RBI machine for the Mets, he's driven in most of those runs in key moments of game, with many of those runs batted in contributing greatly to Mets victories.

Without question, Granderson's hunger for run production has certainly made all the critics (myself included) eat their words.

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